Date: Sunday January 7, 2007, EPIPHANY
Readings: Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72: 1-2,7-8,10-13
Ephesians 3: 2-3, 5-6 Matthew 2: 1-12
The exiles from Babylon are, saved from captivity by the pagan ruler, Cyrus, are to be a light to the nations, the rest of the world.
God had chosen Cyrus to be His messiah, His anointed. The Jews of the time were reminded by Isaiah, their disobedience was at the root of their being slaves and, therefore, it was their obligation to show God's mercy until He came as the real Messiah.
The Psalm is used to show the line of succession. Verse 1 the King and His Son. Both from the line of David and therefore kingly. Verse 8 infers the borders of the world at the time; from the Mediterranean to the ocean and from the Euphrates River to the tip of Arabia.
Up until Paul went about preaching to the gentiles, they were thought to have no chance of salvation. Here in Ephesians, Paul invites them and all people to become heirs with the Jews to the Kingdom, if only they would be baptized and believe.
Matthew's story of the visit of the magi is a literary style known and popular in Jesus' time, MIDRASH.
By taking thoughts from Isaiah, Micah, 2Samuel and Psalm 72, he tines the thoughts until they make a story, not History but His Story. Note: Jesus was in a house when the magi came to pay Him homage. Matthew introduces the angels as God's messengers. They tell Joseph to take Mary as his wife; they appear in a dream to advise the magi of Herod's plot; they warn Joseph to take Mary and the child to Egypt, the sanctuary for those being sought.
We learn from these lessons, God can use any vehicle to bring His message. A pagan ruler, magicians, even a cruel King is made instrumental in our journey to salvation.
Let us praise God His providence becomes evident in the events leading to our becoming His children!